Unlocking Success in Staffing Sales: The Power of 'Yes, But'

Oct 13, 2023

In the fast-paced world of staffing and recruitment, the ability to negotiate effectively and secure valuable client partnerships is essential. In this month's issue of Staffing Monthly, Dan Mori, the Executive Director of the National Independent Staffing Association, introduces a game-changing sales tactic – the "Yes, But" technique. In a climate where competition for clients is fierce, understanding how to navigate the negotiation zone can make all the difference.

Traditionally, salespeople tend to think in binary terms – it's either a "yes" or a "no." However, Dan Mori suggests that there's a crucial middle ground: "Yes, But." This technique is a powerful tool for bringing prospects back from the brink of declining your offer or making unacceptable demands.

To make the most of this technique, Mori outlines a threefold approach to categorizing potential clients:

  1. Yes (Acceptable Business): The ideal scenario where business terms align with your standards and criteria for success. Define this clearly and communicate it to your sales team.
  2. No (Unacceptable Business): Clearly define what constitutes bad or unacceptable business for your agency. Equip your sales team to recognize these scenarios and confidently decline them.
  3. Yes, But (Negotiation Zone): This is where the magic happens. When a prospect's demands fall outside the "Yes" category but aren't outright "No," it's time to deploy the "Yes, But" technique to negotiate terms that benefit both parties.

Mori emphasizes that setting boundaries and establishing healthy business relationships upfront are key to long-term success. The "Yes, But" technique allows you to negotiate, collaborate, and find common ground with potential clients.

Here are two scenarios Mori presents to illustrate the "Yes, But" technique in action:

Scenario 1: Temporary Staffing Agency

  • You propose a 50% markup and 500 conversion hours.
  • The prospect asks for a 45% markup to match their competitor.
  • Your response: "Yes, I can match it, but I would need to extend the conversion terms to around 570 hours. Does that work for you?"

Scenario 2: Permanent Placement

  • You propose a 20% fee with a 90-day guarantee.
  • The prospect asks for a 15% fee.
  • Your response: "Yes, I can go to 15%, but I would need to cut the guarantee period from 90 days to 45. Does that work for you?"

By using "Yes, But," you're giving the prospect what they want while ensuring it aligns with your criteria for good business. You're not simply giving in; you're negotiating and maintaining profitability.

This technique also applies to existing clients seeking changes in terms, rate reductions, or rush orders. The "Yes, But" approach enables you to adapt to their needs while safeguarding your interests.

In conclusion, understanding the power of "Yes, But" can be a game-changer in the staffing and recruitment industry. By clearly defining your boundaries, training your sales team, and deploying this negotiation tactic effectively, you can secure valuable business partnerships while maintaining profitability. The ability to find compromise and create win-win situations is the key to success in the staffing world's competitive landscape.

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